Most Expensive cities in Europe

Most Expensive Cities in Europe in 2024

Europe is a dream destination for many expats and travelers. What’s not to like? Rich history, diverse culture, great cuisines… Well, no one said it’d be cheap; it all comes at a cost.

Hong Kong continues to be the most expensive city in the world for expats and travelers. The winner in Europe belongs to Zurich with the highest prices. As a matter of fact, Switzerland holds the lavish medal with four cities in the top five most expensive cities in Europe!

Let’s discover the whole list in this article.

What are the Most Expensive Cities in Europe to Live in 2023?

Below, you may find the 10 most expensive cities in Europe according to Expatistan’s cost of living index as of November 2023. We’ve also added a cost of living section with data we’ve collected from Numbeo.

We’ve converted the local currencies to Euro.

10. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The Netherlands is another country that has earned a reputation for having a high standard of living. According to the 2023 index, Amsterdam, the capital city, is the tenth most expensive city in Europe.

However, this doesn’t seem to stop travelers and expats from traveling to this attractive city. Cultural events such as art expositions, concerts, and other events cater to a wide range of tastes.

Living in the Dutch capital isn’t as expensive as in the Nordic capitals. Expect to spend a large amount of your monthly salary on housing, especially if you choose a furnished house.

Cost of Living
Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: € 1,743
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,391

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €10
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €17.25
Cappuccino: €3.68
Beer: €6

Markets
Milk (regular), (1 liter): €1.20
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €1.62
Eggs (regular) (12): €4.12
Banana (1kg): €1.76

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €197
Internet: €41

 Amsterdam, Netherlands

9. Paris, France

Paris is known for its romantic charm and cultural richness. But it is also known for its high cost of living. Housing in the city, particularly in popular areas, requires a significant amount of money. The rental and purchase prices are high as well. It doesn’t matter if you choose a studio in Montmartre or an apartment near the Champs-Élysées.

Daily essentials like groceries and restaurants reflect the city’s high standards. The city has a well-developed and efficient public transit system. On the other hand, driving a car in Paris may be costly. It’s mostly because of the parking taxes and fuel prices.

Cost of Living
Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,308
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €937

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €11
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €15
Cappuccino: €3.93
Beer: €7

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.43
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €1.83
Eggs (12): €4.19
Banana (1kg): €2.21

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €201
Internet: €30

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

For many years, Denmark’s capital has been a famous tourist destination. However, for budget-conscious digital nomads, Copenhagen is generally a short journey. Denmark is one of the countries with a high standard of life; as a result, the cost of living is quite expensive.

Nonetheless, this ever-changing Nordic city has a substantial immigrant community. And it’s a creative and innovative hotspot. For many digital nomads and expat foreigners, it makes perfect sense to try their luck in Copenhagen.

Cost of Living
Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,483
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,166

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €13.41
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €20.12
Cappuccino: €5.83
Beer: €7.71

Markets
Milk (regular), (1 liter): €1.84
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3.14
Eggs (regular) (12): €4.52
Banana (1kg): €2.48

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €203
Internet: €33

living in denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark

7. Dublin, Ireland

Dublin remains the seventh most expensive city in Europe in 2023. It’s well-known for its vibrant nightlife and closeness to Ireland’s natural settings. However, it’s one of Europe’s most costly cities. It’ss largely due to the high number of expats, and thus the high rents.

Yet, the city provides all of the advantages of city living while keeping a relaxed atmosphere. The rushing that is common in other capital cities will not occur here. Moreover, the mountains and seashore of Dublin’s area offer a quick escape to nature. Many hiking trails and bathing sites are accessible via public transit.

Cost of Living
Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: € 2,032
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,711

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €10
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €20
Cappuccino: €3.38
Beer: €6.50

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.29
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €1.85
Eggs (12): €3.87
Banana (1kg): €1.97

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €271
Internet: €50

Dublin, Ireland

6. Lugano, Switzerland

Living in Lugano, Switzerland in the heart of Europe is recognized for its bustling nightlife. However, the expense of living here should be considered. While housing in Lugano has amazing scenery, it may be quite expensive. You can find modern flats and classic residences in Lugano. But budgeting wisely for rent or mortgage is key.

Fresh, high-quality foods are expensive, as are meals in local restaurants. Although public transit in Lugano is efficient and well-connected. If you prefer to drive, consider the expenses of buying a car.

The healthcare system in Lugano is excellent, yet it is expensive. Insurance is required. While education in Lugano is world-class, private schools might greatly increase your costs.

Cost of Living
Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: € 1,673
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,335

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €15.56
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €31.11
Cappuccino: €3.69
Beer: €6.22

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.81
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3.32
Eggs (12): €5.99
Banana (1kg): €2.30

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €220
Internet: €60

5. Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne, located in French Switzerland, is a classic Swiss city. However, it’s true that it’s one of Europe’s most costly cities to live in.

There are several opportunities for digital nomads in the city. Lausanne has a range of activities and cultural events that you can attend. You will certainly fall in love with Lausanne since there is always something to do.

Lausanne is well-known for its Olympic headquarters and for being a student city. The area boasts prominent ski resorts, is surrounded by mountains, and has a magnificent lake, the Leman, where residents enjoy windsurfing and water skiing.

Cost of Living
Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €1,655
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,294

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €15.56
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €25.93
Cappuccino: €4.87
Beer: €8.30

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.78
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €2.99
Eggs (12): €6.31
Banana (1kg): €2.22

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €318
Internet: €55

4. Basel, Switzerland

Basel is located on the northern and western borders of Switzerland as well as the southern Black Forest of Germany and Alsace. It provides exceptional shopping, cultural, and leisure options. As an outcome, Basel provides a distinct style of life across Switzerland.

If you reside in Basel, nothing is more than a few steps away… Parks and playgrounds, as well as museums, cafés, and nightclubs will be close to you. There are stunning modern residences and workplaces. You’ll also find a medieval town center and historic neighborhoods.

Basel is a green city where you can enjoy sports, games, and entertainment all year. But everything has a cost. This lovely city is one of the most costly in Europe to live in.

Cost of Living
Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: € 1,525
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,146

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €17
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €26
Cappuccino: €5.29
Beer: €8.30

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.79
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3.39
Eggs (12): €6.90
Banana (1kg): €2.94

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €223.20
Internet: €48.86

3. Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva is a cosmopolitan city and the second-largest city in Switzerland. It’s a significant financial and diplomatic hub.

In every sense of the term, living in Geneva is luxurious. Its standard of living is among the highest in Europe and its living expense. Even by Swiss standards, Geneva is considered very expensive for expats living in Switzerland. The cost of living in Geneva is possibly higher than in your home country. It’s better to purchase necessities in your home nation to save money for the move.

But Geneva is a beautiful city with so much to offer that many foreigners choose to live there. It’s situated at the end of “Lake Geneva” with many beautiful landscapes.

Cost of Living
Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €2,179
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,807

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €15
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €26
Cappuccino: €4.91
Beer: €8

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.65
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3.34
Eggs (12): €6.24
Banana (1kg): €2.57

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €206
Internet: €55

2. London, UK

London is among Europe’s most expensive cities. Well, it’s safe to say the Big Smoke lives up to its reputation. With one of the most valued currencies in the world, the pound sterling £, the land of Big Ben does indeed have a higher cost of living. It’s even high prices for those who earn Euro or American dollars.

London is the most costly city in the UK to live in due to the prohibitively high rent prices. However, the relatively high earnings assist to offset this. The average rent in Greater London is the highest in the UK.

London can be an expensive city, but you get value for your money. And the general quality of life is excellent. Few cities can compare to London in terms of its artistic, cultural, sporting, culinary, and social scenes.

Cost of Living
Accommodation

One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €2,628
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,867

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €9.21
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €21.79
Cappuccino: €4.09
Beer: €7.03

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.53
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €1.81
Eggs (12): €4.02
Banana (1kg): €1.48

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €361.47
Internet: €38

London, UK

1. Zurich, Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, and Zurich stands out as the most expensive city in Europe.

Zurich is often a popular stop on a European adventure. It has a rich history and many museums. In addition, it has a central position in Europe and is close to the famous Swiss Alps. However, this adventure may cost a fortune.

It’s true that Zurich has a reputation for being costly. It’s both because of the expense of living generally and costly real estate. Fortunately, though, the net compensation is among the best in the world. Also, there are plenty of jobs available for foreigners.

Like in other financial centers, prices can increase significantly depending on where you live. It may be challenging for digital nomads and expats to handle.

Cost of Living
Accommodation
One-bedroom apartment in the city center: €2,576
One-bedroom apartment outside the city center: €1,720

Restaurants
McMeal at McDonald’s: €16.57
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant: €25.89
Cappuccino: €5.86
Beer: €7.25

Markets
Milk (1 liter): €1.85
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g): €3.35
Eggs (12): €6.57
Banana (1kg): €2.44

Utilities (Monthly)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage): €292
Internet: €52.63

living in zurich
Zurich, Switzerland

There you have it – list of the most expensive cities in Europe. But don’t let this ranking deter you from visiting the continent. Europe is very big and also home to many cities that cater to different budgets. 

Methodology

To calculate the Price Index value for each city, Expatistan assigns a value of 100 to a central reference city which is Prague. After establishing the reference point, the Price Index value of each other city in their database is determined by comparing their cost of living to the cost of living in Prague. 

For example, if a city has a Price Index of 134, it means that living there is 34 percent more expensive than living in Prague.

Note that these figures are subject to change and this is why we recommend making a thorough search when you decide your relocation to a certain city.

See the below chart for the price index of the expensive cities in Europe listed in our article.

Ranking

City

Price Index

1st

Zurich (Switzerland)

211

2nd

London (United Kingdom)

203

3rd

Geneva (Switzerland)

202

4th

Basel (Switzerland)

192

5th

Lausanne (Switzerland)

191

6th

Lugano (Switzerland)

184

7th

Dublin (Ireland)

162

8th

Copenhagen (Denmark)

154

9th

Paris (France)

152

10th

Amsterdam (Netherlands)

148

To Sum-Up

The most costly cities in Europe offer unique experiences, rich cultures, and dynamic lives, but at a high cost. Cities such as London, Zurich, and Copenhagen need careful financial preparation. Housing, a major expense, ranges from stylish flats to old townhouses. It reflects the architectural legacy of each city. Also, the expense of everyday necessities reflects the high quality of life. Remember to be careful with grocery shopping or entertainment in these expensive cities.

Transportation, whether public or private, raises living costs. Healthcare and education are of the highest quality. However, they can have a substantial influence on total costs, especially among families. Life in Europe’s most costly cities may be highly rewarding if you are a good budget planner.

Related Articles

Frequently Asked Questions About Most Expensive Cities in Europe

What are the top 10 most expensive cities in Europe?

According to Expatistan, below are the most expensive cities in Europe to visit and to live in.

Top 10 expensive cities in Europe

1. Zurich, Switzerland
2. Geneva, Switzerland
3. London, UK
4. Lausanne, Switzerland
5. Basel, Switzerland
6. Dublin, Ireland
7. Copenhagen, Denmark
8. Oslo, Norway
9. Amsterdam, the Netherlands
10. Trondheim, Norway

Expatistan provides a value of 100 to a central reference city, Prague, to generate the Price Index value for each city. Following the establishment of the reference point, the Price Index value of each other city in their database is determined by comparing the cost of living in that city to the cost of living in Prague.

For example, a Price Index of 134 indicates that living in that city is 34% more expensive than living in Prague.

Which part of Europe is expensive?

Western Europe is considered to be more expensive than Eastern Europe. Switzerland is considered to be the most expensive, while Scandinavia is also very expensive. In general, we can say that the prices go up as you go up the North.

Also, it’s worth noting that four Swiss cities rank in the Top 10 expensive cities in Europe list.

Which European countries are the richest?

With over 50 countries and non-country territories, many of which have millennia of worldwide influence, Europe is home to some of the most prosperous countries on the planet.

The most common fundamental measure of national wealth is Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which represents the total value of goods and services generated by a country over a specific time period (typically a year). The top six major European countries together had a GDP of more than $1 trillion (US$) in 2020, totaling $13.833 trillion (US$). These statistics place Europe’s financial leaders among the world’s most productive countries.

The top 3 richest countries in Europe by total 2020 GDP are:

  • Germany – $3.8 trillion
  • United Kingdom – $2.7 trillion
  • France – $2.6 trillion

What is the number 1 most expensive city in Europe?

Zurich (Switzerland) is considered to be the most expensive city in Europe. According to the Expatistan survey, the city’s price index is 244.

What are the most expensive European cities in 2023?

As of 2023, the most expensive European cities include Zurich, Geneva, and Oslo. These cities are known for their high living costs, particularly in terms of housing, healthcare, and daily essentials. Other notable mentions are Copenhagen and London, both renowned for their significant living expenses.

What country in Europe has the highest cost of living?

In 2023, Switzerland holds the title for the highest cost of living in Europe. Its cities, like Zurich and Geneva, consistently rank high due to expensive housing, healthcare, and high standards of living. This reflects the country’s overall economic stability and wealth.

Is Paris more expensive than London?

As of 2023, London is generally more expensive than Paris. This is particularly true in terms of housing and transportation. However, Paris also has significant living costs, especially in areas like dining and entertainment.

What is the top 5 most expensive city in the world in 2023?

In 2023, the top 5 most expensive cities in the world are Singapore, Zurich, Hong Kong, New York, and Geneva. These cities are known for their steep costs of housing, lifestyle, and general expenses, affecting both locals and expatriates.

 

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